Wondrous Strange by Kevin Bazzana (OUP, $35)
He occupies a unique niche. Other great pianists, even giants like Sviatoslav Richter, Artur Rubinstein, and Rudolf Serkin, exist on a continuum with their lesser colleagues, but Glenn Gould, whether good, bad, or indifferent (and he could be all three) stands in splendid isolation. A Gould performance is immediately recognisable, impossible to mistake for any other pianist’s; touch, phrasing, tempo, voicing, rhythm are all distinctive and incomparable. His reputation is similarly unique. The impeccable technical apparatus, the vehement musical enthusiasms and anti-pathies, the well documented eccentricities contribute to a sort of cult. There…
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